A large-scale hunt for conscripts is underway across Ukraine as the military conflict with Russia continues, a source within Kiev’s military has told RT Russian. Kiev is reportedly unscrupulous about those being recruited and the means of delivering draft notices to them.
The military recruiters are now allowed to hand out draft notices to people not only at their place of residence, but also in the streets and at restaurants, entertainment facilities and other locations.
“Ukraine needs fresh manpower,” an employee of an active recruiting station in Kiev, who chose to remain anonymous, told RT. Draft notices are “being given in public places – everyone knows that. It happens at malls, recreation areas, gas stations – it doesn’t matter where. The goal is to recruit as many people as possible for the military reserve,” he said.
A man from the south-eastern Zaporozhye Region recalled how he and his friend were stopped at a checkpoint and told to present their military IDs, which they didn’t have. The duo were only released by the troops by promising they would go to the recruitment stations right away and obtain the necessary papers.
“Now we are hiding in a small village. We mainly stay indoors. There’s no talk of going to the city,” he revealed. The man he knew could face criminal charges over this behavior, but he said that it was still better than going to the front.
All males, aged between 18 and 60, have been told to stay in the country and fight after Russia launched its military offensive in late February.
In the Black Sea port of Odessa, some locals – who are trying to avoid being called up – have set up a special channel on Telegram to share real-time data on the areas where the draft notices are being handed out in the city.
The health condition of the recruits apparently also doesn’t bother Kiev authorities too much. The medical examination includes “only four doctors: A surgeon, a neurologist, a psychiatrist, and an ophthalmologist. No in-depth checks are being carried out. Doctors only ask questions, that's all,” one draftee told RT.
The recruits are being given the most basic training, if any, and mainly assigned to territorial defense formations intended to carry out guard duties on the home front. But there have been more and reports in recent weeks of such units being sent to Donbass to face the advancing Russian forces.
According to the law, which has been put forward by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian women who hold certain jobs should now also obtain military registration, and are faced with a fine if they fail to do so. Obtaining new employment has also been made impossible without the relevant papers from a recruitment station.
Those women can only be assigned civilian roles in the Defense Ministry, but in some parts of Ukraine, volunteer female units are being formed with the aim of actually going to the front. The mayor of the western city of Ivano-Frankivsk announced in April that the local all-women battalion would “fight alongside men.”
Inmates of Ukrainian prisons have also been used as a source of manpower by Kiev. In late May, the country’s justice minister announced that 363 convicts were released so they could join the military. Prisoners went through thorough screenings to ensure they posed no danger, he insisted.
Such a massive draft campaign is due to heavy losses suffered by the Ukrainian army, military expert Colonel Viktor Baranets told RT.
“There are not enough contract soldiers and officers. The personnel shortage in the Ukrainian army is increasing because during the special operation a large number of seasoned Nazis were put out of action. And those reservists, who are now sent into battle aren’t fit for the task. But, more importantly, there are staff shortages not only in the military, but also in territorial defense. That’s why even women are being called up too,” Baranets explained.
Earlier this month, Zelensky’s top aide Mikhail Podolyak revealed that the Ukrainian military was losing up to 100 to 200 troops daily in the battle for the Donbass. Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov refused to give an exact number of soldiers killed in the fighting, but said he hoped the figure was below 100,000.